Khyber PakhtunKhwa, KPK, is again facing a spike in terrorist violence. The mass bombings in Church and market in Peshawar have re-ignited the debate over the best way to achieve peace. There are only two options. Peace deal with Taliban or forceful operation to destroy Taliban.
Let us look at the talks option. Pakistan government and Pakistani Taliban can reach only one deal. That is ceasefire along a new Line of Control. Pak Army will withdraw from Taliban controlled Tribal areas along with Dir and Swat districts of KPK. Taliban will withdraw from rest of KPK. We cannot really expect that after the talks, Taliban will agree to hand over all of Tribal areas to Pak Army. Nor can we expect Pakistan government to hand over all of Pakistan to the Taliban. Tribal areas will practically become a new country, say Talibanistan. But it is almost certain that Pakistan and Afghanistan will continue to be attacked from this Talibanistan. And the Talibanistan will certainly be attacked by US. So there will be no peace after all!
The only other option is a comprehensive military operation against Taliban focused on North Waziristan and including extremist Madrassas all over Pakistan. This will be very bloody indeed, but the result is certain. Pakistan Army can easily defeat Taliban when it goes all out, like it did in Swat and South Waziristan. But that needs public support which will have to accept the wave of suicide bombings all over Pakistan and the difficulties of refugees from Tribal Areas. But the bombings and refugees are already there, so what is the problem?
The problem is that every medicine has a side effect. The side effect of peace in Pakistan is that it will also bring peace to Afghanistan, and that is a big side effect. A clear majority of Pakistanis whole-heartedly support Afghan Taliban and want to remove Karzai government through a civil war. But the Afghan Taliban’s main group, Haqqani faction, is based in North Waziristan together with Pakistani Taliban. They don’t fight each other. Afghan Taliban don’t even tell Pak Army about the hiding places of Pakistani Taliban. So any operation in North Waziristan will have to remove both Pakistani and Afghan Taliban. This is unacceptable to a majority of Pakistanis. Pak Army also wants to protect Afghan Taliban while destroying Pakistani Taliban. Pak Army has been trying for 10 years to cut the branches of terrorists in other tribal areas without cutting the root in North Waziristan. This unwillingness to destroy Afghan Taliban with our own hands is the main, the basic reason why we cannot bring peace to our country.
We as a nation have still not understood that you cannot burn the houses of your neighbor to the right and the neighbor to the left without burning your own house! Pakistan will find peace only when it gives peace to Kashmir and Afghanistan. As long as we continue training militants to bomb our neighbors, we will keep dying by the same bombs.